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Wrath of Man

Director Guy Richie has made a career out of shady villains. ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ debuted his flair for stylised violence laced with rapid quips. For several decades this formula has worked, with a few left-field movies like ‘Aladdin’ to keep fans on their toes. ‘Wrath of Man’ reunites him with star Jason Statham, with whom he has previously worked. Although still using the same Richie recipe, ‘Wrath of Man’ shows a slightly different flavour than usual with both men equipping themselves admirably.

H (Jason Statham) is a cold, mysterious stranger working for a cash truck company. Moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles every week, his job heavily relies on his skills. When his son is murdered, H goes on a mission of vengeance, using his job as a tool for revenge. Cutting a bloody path of rage, H’s steely resolve pushes him and others to the brink.

‘Wrath of Man’ is as deceptive as its central character. As with H, you’re never quite sure what direction he or the movie will go in remaining consistently intrigued. The story’s non-linear narrative observes the same events from different perspectives. This gradually unravels questions the viewer may have to H’s motivations. Playing like an action packed mystery thriller, ‘Wrath of Man’ doesn’t pull any punches with violence and exploring the peculiar code of honour among thieves.

‘Wrath of Man’ benefits from a solid cast. Whilst hardly the world’s greatest actor, Statham is perfectly suited as H, a man of few words and fewer emotions. Statham conveys H’s silent rage well without stretching his limited acting abilities. The action choreography, frenetic cinematography and the overall seedy atmosphere works in creating the surrounds into which the audience is thrust.

Guy Richie has had some cinematic clunkers, although ‘Wrath of Man’ isn’t one of them. It heavily relies on his usual bag of tricks with a few new twists. Although Statham’s film hit rate can be all over the place, Richie mostly hits his marks with films like his latest worth seeing and to observe what he comes up with next.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY SCREENING IN CINEMAS.

Self/less

‘Self/less’ explores the desire to live forever. This isn’t anything new as wanting eternal life has been a motivation for many fictional characters. Maintaining beauty is another added element with humanity’s ego in defying death and ageing seen everywhere. ‘Self/less’ mirrors its two-pronged title throughout the twist-laden tale. Whether those grasping at extended longevity are doing it for themselves or others is examined in a fairly interesting sci-fi thriller.

Dying of cancer, billionaire Damian Hale (Ben Kingsley) will do anything to continue living. Coming across a process called ‘shredding’, as perfected by the shadowy Doctor Albright (Matthew Goode), Hale thinks he’s found the cure. The procedure sees him putting his mind into a younger body. Waking up as literally a new person, Hale is given the new identity as Damian (Ryan Reynolds). Sent to live a new life, Damian discovers things aren’t as they seem. With mysterious images plaguing his thoughts, he sets out to uncover the truth despite increasingly being in danger.

‘Self/less’ is a reasonably involving thriller without being great. The idea of an old person in a young body trying to adapt to a new life is interesting. The effects of their new existence and of those around them is intriguing. Unfortunately these elements aren’t used as well as could be. Blame can go to the unfocussed script as well as Tarsem Singh’s lacklustre direction. While showing talent, Singh takes the least captivating path in conveying the story.

It’s no fault of the actors who do a good job. Reynolds in particular gives a strong performance as someone trapped in a situation of their own making. It’s easy following his character as he discovers new, unwanted revelations. The infrequent action scenes enliven proceedings which all too often feel drawn out. Occasionally ‘Self/less’ comes to a virtual standstill, robbing it of making it more than an average movie.

If one could live forever then one can forgive the hours used viewing films like ‘Self/less’. By no means terrible, the material needed better handling. It’s a fine enough sci-fi film although the plodding narrative may make one ponder where the time is going watching it.

Rating out of 10 5

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX